Who am I?

I am a writing and publishing guru. What I dont know about the market just isn't worth knowing. So what if I'm unpublished? I choose to give other writers the gift of my wisdom and experience* that the other 500,000 writing blogs out there fail to give.
* No actual experience

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

No inspiration, Part 2

Some have a phobia of wide, open spaces.

I have a fear of a wide, open screen. You know, with no words on it. It gloats, as if proving what you've always suspected - that you have nothing worthy to say or to write. It's a pernicious, self-fulfilling prophecy.

No inspiration means no writing which is evidence of not being a writer. Or a "real" writer. And it's not a pleasant place to be. Most writers I'm sure, have visited that place. But they don’t live there. I guess they wouldn't be writers if they did!

Others have generously contributed their no-inspiration busting moves in the comments on the previous post. I'll add my own:

  1. When I have to be ruthless and cut a section or a character from a WIP, I don’t see it as "killing my darlings". Thanks to the magic of word processing, it's easy to cut and paste them to a new document. I'm not killing them, just relocating. So when I get the blank-screen blues, I just visit my old darlings. Sometimes they still have a tale worth telling, and I play with them, and let them tell me their stories.
  2. A story in the newspaper can send me down the what-if path. Sometimes, I can get a few hundred words from it.
  3. I have to reframe the dilemma. Not adding to my WIP does not mean "not writing". Sometimes I can hit a dead-end with a WIP. Leaving it to rest for a few days means that I can return to it with a fresh mind. On those days, I start something new. Maybe the new story works, maybe it doesn't.
  4. Having a deadline certainly forces the creativity to start again. Sadly, a self-imposed deadline doesn't work, because I know it's a fake. But I've been entering competitions recently. All have a rule stipulating that no late entries will be accepted. I've never tested that rule! It's amazing how a new plot-turn or (even better) a resolution will present itself when there's a sense of desperation biting at my heels. Thank you very much, adrenaline rush!
  5. If I really have no idea what to do with my WIP, I just put two of my characters alone in room together, and let them fight it out. Even if they're best friends/ confidants/ allies, just putting them in an irritable mood (why are they irritable?) and giving them something to disagree about (what?) usually reveals things about them I hadn't previously known. How do they resolve the conflict? Who backs down first? Who's actually right? Do they have old grudges? Suddenly, I have a number of leads to follow -more than I need - each of which will take the story in a new direction, with fresh energy. Ah, conflict!
  6. Finally, I need to remember that time is not an infinite resource. We have precious little of it. I was sadly reminded of this about three weeks ago, following the passing of one of my friends. We went through Uni together. He was about a month older than I. He managed to accomplish many things in his life. I never knew all of his ambitions, but I know that there was a major one he left unfulfilled. Maybe he believed his time was unlimited, too, and that he'd "get around to it one day". I will think of him whenever I'm tempted to leave something undone.


  1. I love the idea of "relocating your darlings"!

    It's very sad that it takes the passing of someone dear to us to remind us that we should be prioritizing our lives better. I seem to always take major life steps right after something like that happens, but then I become complacent till the next event. It's so easy to fall back into the "I'll get around to it later" pattern, isn't it?

  2. My goal is to not fall into the "I'll get around to it later" pattern. Well, for writing,at least. Now, housework - that's a different story!